Holistic Care at Four Seasons Veterinary Care

Yorkie2Holistic Veterinary care looks at the whole animal when making a diagnosis and devising a treatment plan. Holistic treatments aim to bring the whole animal back to health, rather than a focus on individual symptoms.

Our main therapies are Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine.

How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture has effects on the transmission of pain signals to the spinal cord giving segmental pain relief; pain relief that is aimed at one area.
It also stimulates the release of natural pain relieving chemicals in the brain giving a more generalised, overall effect.
Directly needling painful ‘trigger points’ can release knotted muscles, and in similar ways, needling the surface of the body can enhance the function of internal organs by altering nerve transmissions.

Acupuncture can be used in rehabilitation programmes following injury or surgery and many of our patients have acupuncture alongside hydrotherapy, osteopathy, and physiotherapy. Acupuncture can’t cure conditions like osteoarthritis, but it can improve mobility and quality of life.

How do Herbal Medicines work?

The choice of herbal medicine is based on both the traditional uses and modern scientific research into plants. Herbs contain a huge array of complex chemicals; active ingredients, those that increase the activity of the main chemical, and those that reduce side effects.

Many modern drugs are based on herbs,  but isolating the active ingredient, one of the modern scientific methods, can make it more toxic or less effective than using the whole herb. Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) is an excellent example of the difference between herbal and conventional medicine. Aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid and is useful as an anti-inflammatory, but it can cause stomach irritation and ulcers. Meadowsweet (once known as Spiraea ulmaria from which Aspirin got its name) contains less potent salicylates which still offer relief from pain and inflammation, but also compounds which lower stomach acidity and protect the stomach lining so we might use Meadowsweet to treat stomach irritation!

Herbal medicines can be used where no conventional medicine is available, as support for animals with complex medical needs, or to ameliorate the side-effects of conventional medications. We choose the herbs to use based on available evidence and discuss the pros and cons of conventional and herbal options.

By consulting a vet who is also trained in herbal medicine the risk of herb-drug interactions or the use of herbs unsuitable for your pet can be avoided. This doesn’t mean we won’t use any herbs, but there may be some we need to avoid.

We use practitioner only herbs from suppliers who follow Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). We look for suppliers who are interested in quality, sustainability, the environment, and the fair treatment of their herb farmers.

What other therapies do you offer?

We offer advice on feeding both healthy and sick pets and cater for those owners who want to feed a home-made raw or cooked diet as well as those who need an off the shelf solution. Physical therapies including massage, active and passive exercises may be suggested for owners to do at home to enhance our treatments. We can also advise on how changes to your pets environment and activity can have a positive impact on their health.

Bad behaviour?

An understanding of behaviour is essential to solving many pet health problems, and many behavioural probems are linked to pain and illness. Vicky is now a COAPE Behaviourist and Trainer (DipCABT RQF Level 6) and takes referrals where behaviour is the primary complaint.

We don’t use homeopathic remedies

Homeopathic remedies contain no detectable active chemicals and despite anecdotal successes there is an insufficient scientific evidence base for us to support their use. We do not prescribe homeopathic remedies.

Please don’t DIY your pet’s health

Herbs from chemists and pet shops.

Pets can’t tell you what is wrong! It is important to get a diagnosis from a qualified veterinary surgeon before starting any supplement, over the counter medication, or herbal medicine.

Herbal medicines are not regulated in the same way as ordinary medicines. Off the shelf products may not be tested adequately to ensure therapeutic levels of key compounds, and those bought over the internet from abroad could be contaminated with drugs or heavy metals. Even good quality products tend to have over-cautious dosing recommendations so may not have the desired effect.

Self diagnosis, low quality herbs and over cautious dosage recommendations often lead to poor results.

By visiting a Veterinary Herbalist you will get a holistic diagnosis, a personalised herbal formula for your pet, and the highest quality herbs.